More of God?

B31A20A1-664D-4D12-86F8-FB7EEDD792E2The year is 66 A.D. or maybe 67 A.D.  and Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, finds himself once again arrested by the Roman Empire.  But this time it is much different.  Instead of being under house arrest he finds himself in a dungeon in chains.  To be more specific in Nero’s dungeon.  Not only is Paul there but it is also believed that Peter who walked with Jesus is also there.  At this time Paul is able to write a letter to his fellow brother in Christ, a young man he raised up in the faith of their mutual Lord and Savior. This young man, Timothy, receives a letter which will be known as 2 Timothy to future generations. Yet, for Timothy this is the last correspondence he has from a man he had walked with and knew so very well.  This is the man Timothy had learned from Who Jesus is.  Paul knows his time is short and soon he will be poured out as a drink offering (4:6).  Paul asks Timothy to come to him yet at the same time realizes that Timothy may not get there in time, so his letter also conveys the concerns he has of the times and of the faith which is so dear to him and that he will die for.

If we put ourselves in the times this letter was thought to be written, we might see this as a transitional time for the believers in Christ.  Most of the other disciples have been killed for their belief.  The Roman Empire is controlled by Nero.  Under his rule the believers in Jesus suffered great persecution.  He is known as a cruel leader.  Both Paul and Peter are killed under his rule leaving only John as the  last of the original apostles.  Many believers began to wonder if Jesus would ever return and some were teaching the resurrection had already happened (2:17).  Paul also warns of others in the future who will have a form of godliness but deny it’s power and always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth (3:5&7).  He reminded Timothy, “ But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (3:14-15).  Paul also reminds Timothy several times to: “Hold fast the pattern of words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1:13); “…be strong in grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2:1-2); and “consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding in all things” (2:7). Paul wanted to ensure the true gospel—-stayed TRUE and that the message being taught would not go back to the old leaven (law).  He reminds Timothy of the importance of faith in Who Jesus is to secure salvation and righteousness and how this truth needed to be passed on to future generations. I believe Paul was passing the baton on to his disciple Timothy before he died.  What brought me to tears though was the realization that the church today has completely perverted Paul’s words and has done exactly what he didn’t want to happen with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And the really sad part is that they have used his own words to do so.

So many times this book (2:20-26)  has been taught from the perspective of a believers behavior and their need to try to better themselves so they can “get more from God”, or “get to a higher level”.  Christians have lost the Way and forgotten it is Him Who brings us from glory to glory, not us.  And we already have ALL of Him in us, period.  There is no secret way of obedience to “get more Holy Spirit”. The entirety of the Holy Spirit resides in each believer as they Simply Believe.  People that believe there is a way for them to attain more of God by their behavior are simply feasting on the old leaven (1 Cor 5:8). This old leaven causes you to want to hide your mistakes and choices instead of living from the inside out (see: Grace Enables You to…. for more info).  When feasting on the old leaven you fear God and man because you don’t understand that God has already forgiven you because of His Son.  The truth is you are fully forgiven which causes you to not fear because you know, no matter what you have or haven’t done, you are beloved and fully accepted by the Holy Trinity.  

In our humanity we always want or desire to make ourselves righteous. It is just such a source of pride in humanity.  I understand this because for years this is the way I had lived.  This is where God truly wants humility.  It seems so difficult not only for unbelievers but for believers in Jesus to understand this.  We need to acknowledge the facts:

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES RIGHTEOUS OR MORE RIGHTEOUS.

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES PURE OR MORE PURE.

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES HOLY OR MORE HOLY.

WE CAN NEVER GET MORE OF GOD BY OUR BEHAVIOR OR LESS OF GOD BY OUR BEHAVIOR.

According to Paul, we can only freely receive these things from Father God who made the way through His Only Son, Jesus Christ.  It is a FREE GIFT.  I submit to you the containers Paul speaks about In chapter 2:20-26 was to help Timothy realize that there are different vessels in the house of God and to make sure Timothy sees this clearly, understands this and makes sure the true gospel gets passed on to trustworthy people.  Paul talks about these containers in 1 Corinthians also.  In verse 8 of chapter 5 Paul mentions something that we must look at to understand what he was saying to Timothy: 

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The old leaven is the law.  The leaven of malice and wickedness is the world and the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth is the New Covenant.

See Paul was warning Timothy that these different containers would all be present in the “Church” and to look for the honorable containers to entrust the message to.  Giving credence to those that taught the truth just as he has done.

When I better understood the history, I could better understand the wording of the letter. I began to see that this letter is not so much about what I have to do to attain more from the Lord; but much more about believing what God, through His Son Jesus, has already done for me.  I believe this letter is just reinforcing to Timothy what Paul has always taught: Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb has already done it all for us…all we have to do is Simply Believe (Faith).

I encourage you whenever you go to read the Word of God to start at the right starting point…which is:

God Loves me

Jesus died for all of my sins

I am fully forgiven

I am righteous in Jesus

I am a new creation in Jesus

I have a free will choice to choose to believe Who God and Jesus is

The Holy Spirit (all of God) lives in me when I choose to believe

God never leaves me nor forsakes me

If we look at 2 Timothy with these eyes, we can see it is all about faith, grace and understand we can not in and of ourselves make ourselves a clean container but that through focusing on Jesus, through our belief in Who He is and ALL that He has accomplished on the Cross we are the clean or an honorable container. As believers we need to stop trying to put a new garment on an old one…it doesn’t fit-the New Covenant message of Grace is not a patch for the Old Covenant of Law— just put on the whole new garment of Grace given freely and completely to you by Jesus.  Through all scripture—ALL—-you can see the truth of Jesus.

It is time for Jesus,
not man,
to be high and lifted up
and He will draw
all men unto Himself.

So now go and read 2 Timothy with new, fresh eyes and let’s stand and make a change back to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  We no longer want the old leaven of the law, nor the feast of malice or wickedness (the world).  What we want is the New covenant, unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  Truth that Jesus took all your sins, it is finished, you are whole (even if you don’t look it or act like it, remember glory to glory) and you are obedient right where you are at.  A good friend said something so profound and I want to share it here.  She said, “I gave 100% of what I had at that time.”  This is how I see believers going from glory to glory now.  I can’t yet give what I don’t understand I have just yet.  But I am fully reliant on the Giver and the Giver knows my heart.

New Wine

The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength

This is just such a beautiful revelation from the Word of God…

I was talking with someone I know over Messenger and as I have many times in the past said or reminded myself the joy of the Lord is my strength from Nehemiah 8:10 she was asking for prayer to have the joy of the Lord amongst other things.  Here is what I wrote regarding the joy of the Lord.

“….and the joy of the Lord was to get up on the Cross for us and He is your strength in you through His Holy Spirit (literally I just now understood this, wow that is good Lord).”

Let’s look at the scripture the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance and help you see what I saw and then dig into the Hebrew and Greek.  This is so absolutely beautiful I can’t wait to share more.

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”” ‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭8:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place.”                        ‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:27‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Galatians‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The word joy in Hebrew is chedvah which literally mean joy.  It is found twice in the Old Testament which you see above. Please note that strength and joy are in His place. In Nehemiah chapter 8 we find the people realizing there is a holy day called the festival of the booths which signifies God with them among other things.  Remember “in His place” a representation of being with God in His place.

The word in Greek for joy in the above two New Testament scriptures is xará (chara) and the short definition is joy, delight, a source of joy. Yet the fuller meaning is:

Cognate: 5479 xará (another feminine noun from the root xar-, “extend favor, lean towards, be favorably disposed”) – properly, the awareness (of God’s) grace, favor; joy (“grace recognized”).

[The etymological link between 5463 /xaírō (“rejoice because of grace”), 5479 /xará (“joy because of grace”) and 5485 /xáris (“grace”) – i.e. that they are all cognates – is observed by LS (p 1,976), Zod (Dict), CBL, Wigram’s Englishman’s Greek Concordance (Ed. Ralph Winters), Word Study Greek-English NT (Tyndale, Ed. Paul McReynolds) – see also DNTT (2,356) and TDNT (9; 359,60). http://www.biblehub.com

Let’s put this all together now.  We take the above scripture from Hebrews and first we realize who the letter was penned to. It was Jewish believers in the Messiah. Second, we look at the wording (If you would like to see full wording click here for biblehub site: http://biblehub.com/text/hebrews/12-2.htm: )

Jesus who in view of the joy because of grace “lying before” (Definition: I am set (placed, put) before, am already there.) before Him endured the cross.

Jesus who in view of the knowledge of grace that was set, placed, is already there img_1290endured the cross for the whole world so that the whole world could freely live in His joy and strength because we have joy because of grace that we freely receive from Him when we acknowledge Who He is in our life, endured the cross.  Just like the booths in the Old Testament but so much better because it isn’t a representation of God with us…it is literally God in us.  When we realize the fact of God is in us you realize you have strength and joy because of grace. Because the Triune God lives in us and through us, all the time as believers in Jesus Christ. Every time I think about how much God loved us and desired so greatly to live in us that He would send His Son and His Son would pay our price all to be able to come live in us. Wow, amazing joy because of grace!

….My Grace is Sufficient

Because I had said this would be an open journal of my personal journey with the Lord…..and we all have issues or circumstances we are dealing with in life…….

In the fourth grade I had a group of girlfriends and there was one who wanted to be the leader and control who could be a part of the group and who couldn’t. She decided this by making rules or conditions for the other girls to perform to stay in the group. One day she decided everyone had to eat all of their school lunch to be able to stay in the group of friends. It just so happens this day we had corn dogs and my hot dog inside was green. I didn’t want to lose my friends so I ate all of my lunch even though I knew better. Later that night, yep you guessed it, I threw up. My mom asked me what I ate for lunch. I told her what happened and she asked me if someone told me to jump of a bridge would I do it…it made me think. The next day I told the leader I am done with her games and I don’t need to be part of her group anymore because that isn’t real friendship. Of course the group was not allowed to talk to me after I left the group. Yet as the days went by, all the other girls, one by one, left the “group” (they also were done with being told what to do or not to do) and she had no more group to lead. She was pretty mad….but I was done eating bad corn dogs and throwing up for anyone. 😉

What is so interesting is we think people grow up and stop playing these types of control games but some people still continue to even in the church.

The other night I came home from an event and realized I am still dealing with this strange unresolved issue that causes me to fear going places. The best way I have been able to find to describe how I feel is likened to what I think a leper might have felt coming into town. It is like I wait to hear unclean, unclean shouted at me. Not in words but in actions by….. Christians. These aren’t unbelievers but those that claim they know Christ. I know the way these people are treating me isn’t about me but really about them, their own fear. Yet, still their choices and actions have had an impact on both me and my family. Yes I can hear, in their actions, the shouts unclean, unclean, literally not wanting us to touch them much less even just say hi or wave. I had told someone I had never experienced this before and remembered my corn dog story above. So, I ask…..’now what Father???’.

The leper was completely, fully healed by Jesus. The leper received shalom from Jesus. Like the leper Jesus is constantly healing me in this process. He has been faithful through and in this process. He has shown me when I am weak He is strong. Paul had made a statement in 2 Corinthians 12,’I have this thorn in my side’ and God said, ‘My grace is sufficient’. I really have come to understand Paul’s statement. I have this thorn in my side or as I like to say these people are being a pain in my rear…and the Lord whispers back to me,

“My grace is sufficient”….meaning Him in me, all Jesus did is enough to carry and heal me. This is the truth that shouts louder then the unclean that others are shouting. This truth, His grace, is not like chaff-the word unclean-which is blown away by img_0738the wind. The reality of what Jesus did on the Cross and His sending His Holy Spirit to dwell in me, this truth, stands firm, and resounds within me. I believe we all have issues or things we are facing or dealing with. No one is immune to life happenings or circumstances. As believers, I fully recommend pondering, meditating on the fact that the Most High God, Creator of Heaven and earth has chosen a way to come and dwell inside us. This thought, this truth doesn’t minimize my issue but what it does do is gives me the ability to know that I am never alone, He is there with me through this, He gives me the strength and ability to walk it out, I can rely on Him and His help. I stand in Him and Him in me and together all things are possible. I hear the Lion of Judah roar–Take heart I have overcome the world. I remember Who lives in me and Whose I am. I feel His love wrap around me and reside in me while His Shalom rests in me and I remember who I am in Him and then my heart rests once again in His truth. Once again He heals His beloved.